Phrases by Adrian Violi
4 channels? No worries!
Lockdown. Cue the maxed-out bank cards and last-minute dashes to purchase musical devices or in my case, recording gear as a result of there was undoubtedly going to be the requirement to broadcast drums over the online, both through Zoom calls or by way of isolation recordings.
My fundamental difficulty, nevertheless, was that I didn’t actually know the best way to report drums and the subsequently result in some severe, tremendous late night time YouTube analysis.
- Though some engineers have a tendency to make use of upwards of eight microphones on a drum equipment within the studio, you may obtain a top quality sound at residence utilizing 4 strategically positioned mics.
- A mix of condenser and dynamic microphones is essential to getting a superb, punchy sound from residence.
- Experimenting with engineering strategies such because the Glyn Johns or Recorder Man placement approach can unlock a variety of nice recorded tones.
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I most likely may have saved extra and acquired a less expensive eight preamp channel interface at the price of sacrificing some sound high quality however in the long run, I settled on getting an Audient iD44 – a 4 channel interface with high-quality preamps from Audient’s bigger consoles, devoted guitar DI inputs, USB-C and expandable ADAT connectivity (for further channels in a while) in addition to some many different helpful options.
Sure, the one difficulty was that it was simply 4 channels however after a lot speak with individuals within the know, the recommendation was that I work on with the ability to get a good sound with simply 4 mics and get to know the gear and strategies concerned first earlier than complicating issues with a number of mics.
With my thoughts comfy, and I had my mission. How do I get a superb sound with solely 4 mics? Right here’s my temporary answer.
Sure DAW, I do want mics
There’s a bunch of DAW choices out there, however you do want one. I selected Logic as a result of the workspace is easy, and it has a stack of superior inventory plugins. I made a decision to make use of my classic ‘60s Ludwig Tremendous Traditional and to strive making use of among the recording (taking part in periods) strategies I’ve discovered over time.
I assumed it might be simpler to go along with a dampened, deader sounding equipment – tape/tissue on the snare and tuned decrease to get a phat ’70s vibe. Toms too – decrease and thick sounding, making use of dampening the place wanted to get a word however hold it managed.
It’s actually an experimenting recreation right here. Begin with free heads and progressively convey them up till a word seems, then tweak the dampening till you get the vibe you need.
One other approach is to go along with tea towels or thin cloths on the drums – on the spot useless and tremendous ‘70s. Takes the guess work out of tuning too!
The one mics I had had been a Rode NT2 massive diaphragm condenser, an Audix D6 that I exploit in my bass drum when taking part in stay and a few Shure staples – SM57 and Beta57 in addition to a Sennheiser 935 vocal mic.
I figured I may get one thing occurring with these microphone picks then a terrific producer pal of mine Mitch Cairns mailed me out a matched pair of MXL 603S mics pencil condensers and I used to be out of the blue within the recreation. I had a wide range of mics to a minimum of experiment with. However the place do I place the mics?
Glyn Johns the recording man?
My first try at recording the legendary Glyn Johns (producer/engineer for Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and far more) technique is simply technically a three-mic affair. It’s a reasonably stay sound (no shut mics on the toms) and usually depends on a bigger, nice sounding room – which I don’t essentially have. Regardless, this easy drum mic’ing approach makes use of a bass drum mic and two massive diaphragm condensers as overheads.
The primary is roughly 1 to 1.2 metres instantly above the snare drum and the opposite measured equal distance from the snare drum 90 levels simply previous the ground tom. The gap from the mics to the snare drum is essential so the loudest sound on the equipment hits the mics on the identical time and this avoids section points, which might go away your combine sounding bizarre, skinny and so forth.
The thought with Glyn Johns is to realize a easy however balanced ‘picture’ of the drumkit within the combine. The snare drum ought to sound within the centre of the picture with the rack and flooring toms at even volumes.
I truly discovered that the ground tom was often louder than the rack tom, so the second mic usually required some shifting. No matter the place I moved the mics, I at all times maintained that equal distance from the snare.
Talking of the snare drum, I made a decision to cheat right here and truly shut mic it as a result of I actually liked the thought of with the ability to manipulate the sound individually from the overheads. I experimented with completely different mics however an SM57 often acquired the gong.
Likewise, as a result of I didn’t have two massive diaphragm condensers, the matched pair pencil mics had been substituted for the overheads and so they labored nicely. I truly tried utilizing the Rode NT2 on the bass drum for a extra pure sound however typically anybody I recorded for most popular the scooped vibe of the D6 on the kick.
The factor is, the extra I experimented with mic placement, the extra I moved that flooring tom facet mic and actually, it ceased being the Glyn Johns approach. I didn’t love my room sound/ceiling reflection that a lot and needed to convey the overheads nearer slightly for extra toms, however then I often acquired an excessive amount of hats. Then I came upon one other approach known as Recorder Man.
Place the primary overhead straight over the snare and even pointing instantly between the snare and the rack tom at a distance of two drumsticks excessive – the magic measuring instrument. Place the opposite overhead the identical distance however behind the fitting shoulder – when you’re right-handed – pointing again on the snare drum.
Now, although that mic is behind you, the hi-hats can’t bleed by way of that second overhead as a lot and since it’s slightly larger, the ground tom isn’t robotically louder than the rack. It’s a terrific compromise general. You possibly can then actually simply mess around however once more, equal distance from the snare simply retains it protected.
There are numerous different strategies together with a easy XY configuration, however I did like the thought of with the ability to independently transfer these overheads to seize the equipment how I noticed match. At one level I even simply shut mic’d the toms with the pencils and had no overheads! With towels on the drums, that was truly superior.
In Logic, I’d apply some fundamental EQ on the mics – often a delicate excessive move filter after which simply pulling out nasties right here and there. I’d apply some compression and experiment with parallel compression, the place you mainly apply the impact to a replica or auxiliary of the channel so you’ve the unique sound and only a compressed sound which you can mix.
There’s a mess of movies on the market so go looking for the best way to EQ and apply results to a drum-kit sound. General, the approach/s above yielded a pure sound general, a superb base to play with and positively acquired me within the recording recreation. I’m hooked!
How a lot gear is an excessive amount of gear? Discover out in our drum column for February / March.